Some years earlier, a boy named Fox had succumbed to over extension in the course of his practice sitting of the Ordinary exams during Christmas term. After some period of hardening to the strain, his mind had deformed under the stress of exam-cram and he had yielded to the load applied. Apparently, his ultimate strength exceeded, he had suffered terrible Poisson contractions and necking, which of course led to yet more true stress. He ruptured; He flung away his sensible shoes, wandered outside, through an extraordinary snow storm, and rushed about the local shopping centre shouting, “Woe to bloody Litchfield, woe to you! The Blues are gonna win five to two!” This was considered absurd behavior. Birmingham having rarely, if ever, beaten Litchfield, and, to the best of anyone’s recollection, it had never been by a such a prime margin.
“The young go into insanity, as the old go into the earth,” Megan said.
Springing to his feet mechanically, Amram continued, “Was he a sly dodger of his mocks, or was he quaking out of his boots at this theatrical rehearsal for O-Level exams?”
Duncan suggested that “some people are just too tightly wound. All he needed was some good old-fashioned smoking, singing, and blood-letting. So, what did the top master do about that little pickle?”
“Apparently Fox told the TM that mock O-Levels were a waste of time designed merely to improve test scores without better preparing the student body for life as it is lived, and besides, you would need to be a wizard to pass the chemistry exam that Doctor Vonnegut had set. The TM told Fox he better take the exams or he would be expelled, and probably get six of the best at the front of great school into the bargain.”
“Sounds like a classic example of speaking power to truth,” Megan and Duncan nodded harmonically.
(1) Top Master = Head master
(2) Great school = School auditorium